Community Engagement Circles

In November, we introduced an opportunity for members of the St. Anthony-New Brighton (SANB) community to participate in open-group discussions, called Community Engagement Circles. These four successful events held in November and December of 2020 focused on school values that tie to the district’s strategic priorities of high expectations matched with high support for students and staff, and strong communication and relationships with our families and community. Each event was led by Facilitator Marius J. Massie, CEO and director of Professional Development at Breaking Lines Co (Breaking Lines). 

As we begin 2021, we are introducing additional themes for each month through June. The first two virtual events are set for Jan. 23 and Jan. 25, with the theme, “What makes a community a community?” As before, there is a maximum of 20 participants for each event that will last for a total of two hours. Best of all, the event is free. Sign up here today as these events fill up quickly. If you are unable to sign up through this link, send an email to community@isd282.org.

What is a community circle?
The goal of a community circle is to come together and create understanding, learn how to talk in new ways, and create connections. All of this is accomplished with the help of a trained facilitator.  Basically speaking, engaging in circle events helps a community build new skills to relate with each other on more personal levels, raise awareness, and to create a foundation for connection and communication that strengthens the ability to have open conversations during difficult times. “Community Engagement Circles are not so much about topics, but more about conversations, vulnerability, and hearing stories,” explains Massie.

The Breaking Lines story illustrates the purpose of circles. “When our basic needs aren’t met, it makes us fight. We’re trying to belong, prosper, and feel safe and secure. When we see a threat, we put up walls. We “group” with similar-minded people. At the end, we actually cut off our resources. It’s proven that there’s true strength in diversity. When we lock arms around meeting each other’s needs, something amazingly powerful happens, and we figure out…we fight better as one.”

If you aren't able to make it to the first two events on Jan. 23 and Jan 25, please stay tuned for further dates as they become available.

These events are in partnership with the St. Anthony New Brighton School District, the City of St. Anthony Village, and the St. Anthony New Brighton Family Services Collaborative.